Is Childcare Important for Children’s Development?
No matter whether you have chosen to be a stay at home Mum or Dad, or have chosen to return to work. A question asked by many parents is Childcare important for my child’s development? Childcare has changed enormously over the years and works to provide support to both working and non-working families.
Thoughts will vary from family to family and mum to mum, dad to dad, on outside care for your children. My thoughts as a mother were that I had individual care in my home for my children up until the age of two, then I enrolled them into childcare.
My thoughts on this were that up until two years of age, I believed that one on one care was vital for the health and development for this stage. I took my children to playgroup and outings with other mums during this phase to help with both their social development and mine being a new mum. When they were two it just seemed a good age for them to start some form of childhood learning outside of the home, interacting with other children and adults. So, I enrolled them into Childcare. To Mums who may be struggling with this decision I have included some information in this post that may help with your decision.
Not all childcare is equal
After conclusion of the survey, there didn’t seem to appear any significant differences in outcomes between children who were primarily cared for at home or those who attended day care, but that children in high-quality day care had better outcomes when compared with those in poorer quality settings.
The key message that seems to be emerging from the research is that, provided the quality of care is of a high enough calibre, sending a pre-school child (two or older) to day-care doesn’t have markedly different outcomes to caring for them at home. Also, a great article to read is – Brains are Built not Born. This article is about the importance of interactions and sensory experiences during the first year of your child.
Positive staff attitudes and good communication are vital
Whether your child is cared for at home or in day-care, consistent contact with the same adult or adults is vital, so that they can form healthy attachments. If you opt for day care, picking provision that has a low turnover of staff can really help.
It’s worth spending time at the provision to observe how the team interact with the children there; empathetic, attentive and communicative staff give your child the stimulation and positive feedback they need to thrive. Regardless of whether this type of interaction is provided at home or in a day-care setting, it’s just what’s needed for children to develop and grow appropriately.
Professional inspection and qualifications
Good quality day-care is regulated and registered.
The national registers contain information about approved education and care services and providers. These registers are updated daily from data held in the National Quality Agenda IT System.
Although most parents are extremely good at “child proofing” their homes, a private property is not purpose-built to house eager adventurers! One of the advantages of a good toddler/pre-school setting is that it will be specifically designed with the needs of little people in mind! Safety features, such as windows that are out-of-reach, doors which do not slam shut and a suitable flooring all help to reduce the risk of an accident.
Toddler sized furniture, accessible toilets, and hand basins and zero access to areas of high risk, such as kitchens, all help to ensure your little one can move about freely and safely. In contrast, every home contains “danger zones” (often the kitchen and the bathroom), where intensive supervision is required to minimise the risk of your child getting hurt.
When it comes to suitable activities, variety is the key! Children develop best when they can pursue a wide range of different pastimes, enabling them to learn through free play as well as guided learning. A well-equipped day-care facility with a varied programme can often provide a far more stimulating schedule of daily activities than mum can at home.
Day-care can easily facilitate messy play, such as painting, crafting, play dough and water play – all activities which are time-consuming to clear up at home. Day-care also offers a very broad selection of indoor and outdoor play equipment; often they can invest in sophisticated, high-grade play options that are beyond the budget of most parents. Well thought programs will favour play oriented towards developing fine and gross motricity, literacy, numeracy, from a young age.
Education – preparing for school
An area where day-care facilities can excel is in readying children for their progression into school. A successful start relies not just on educational readiness (such as being able to recognise numbers and letters, being able to write their name and familiarity with basic words and calculations), it also involves mastering a number of different life skills, as well as being able to cope with simply getting through the day without a parent close at hand.
A good day-care facility will run some sort of School Readiness Programme, providing a structured, comprehensive range of activities and targets that your child can work towards. Completion of this type of programme can have an enormously positive impact on a child’s ability to cope successfully with the demands that school makes. Finding the time at home to implement a similar programme can be incredibly time-consuming; some parents may also not be aware of current requirements from schools, which may mean the acquisition of useful skills will be limited.
Attention during the day
Stay-at-home mums are busy! There are always large numbers of chores to attend to, as well as the basic care which every child requires. This can leave a limited amount of time to undertake specific activities, play and learning, with the child sometimes needing to “tag along” with whatever activity needs to be done.
In comparison, day-care is completely devoted to the needs of the child, with staff on hand not only to perform the everyday tasks that are needed to keep your child healthy and happy, but also to provide the learning opportunities, varied activities and emotional support they need to thrive.
Particularly if you worry that you and your child are not spending enough “quality time” together, a combination of day-care and care at home can work really well – day-care provides the best of both worlds: mums have the opportunity get all those essential jobs done quickly, freeing them up to focus on their children, at the same time as children are able to enjoy a wide range of exciting pastimes in a safe, caring setting – a great win-win solution.
Obviously, every child is different and what suits one may not suit another. Day care offers several key advantages for both parent and child, although no-one’s better than mum when you are tiny! Ultimately there is no “one size fits all” answer to childcare, but it is always good to know that with the right, high-grade provision, your child is likely to thrive.
Read Next: Dealing with Difficult Behaviours in Children, in Positive & Constructive Ways
Each Child has their unique personality, with developing mind and emotional skills. Dealing with these can at times be challenging. Learning to work with your children when difficult behaviours come into play is important to them learning lifetime, positive coping skills.
A range of care and play-based learning options is available for babies and children up to six years old. Some childcare providers also offer before- and after-school care to school aged children. Go to SA, Gov. Au to learn more about Childcare options.
To find services in your local area: Visit My child website